All arrivals to Hong Kong from mainland China to face 'compulsory quarantine': leader

Carrie Lam
HONG KONG (AFP): Anyone arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China from Saturday (Feb 8) will face a mandatory two-week quarantine, the city's leader announced Wednesday (Feb 5), a measure aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave no details on how the measure would be implemented but said updates would be released in the coming days.

"The measure is harsh. But I believe after we say all arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days from Feb 8, the number of arrivals will reduce," Lam said. - AFP

Carrie Lam said all people entering the semi-autonomous territory from the mainland, including Hong Kong residents, will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine because of the outbreak of the new virus, according to a report by AP.

Lam said the measure will take effect on Saturday to allow Hong Kong day travellers to make necessary arrangements. She added that two cruise ship terminals, including one where a ship is under quarantine, will be shut down.

Lam said the government is looking for more quarantine facilities in addition to the three camps in use and stressed the authorities have remained vigilant and will not shy away from introducing stringent measures to stem the spread of the virus.

Earlier, Hong Kong’s health department says 30 crew on the World Dream cruise ship docked in Hong Kong have symptoms of the coronavirus.

It added that department staff are conducting tests on 1,800 crew and passengers on board the ship.

It was refused a berth in port in Taiwan on Tuesday and returned to Hong Kong.

Medical workers have begun a third day of strike action over concerns that the city’s government is not doing enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Hong Kong recorded its first death from the outbreak on Tuesday and has 18 confirmed cases, bringing more calls for the authorities to seal the last remaining routes in and out to the mainland.

“As the disease is spreading rapidly in our community, and locally infected cases are steadily increasing, we are dangerously close to a massive community outbreak comparable to Sars,” a newly formed union called the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA) said in a statement according to a Source.

On Wednesday, dozens of medical representatives including the chairwoman of HAEA, Winnie Yu, marched to government headquarters to press their demands for the border to be sealed.

Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, has kept open three routes to China, arguing that to close them would be “inappropriate, impractical and discriminatory”.

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